The USPHS Commissioned Corps announced the change on December 1, which was World AIDS Day. Previously, HIV and hepatitis B infection were both considered disqualifying medical conditions. This new decision reflects the latest scientific evidence and opens the door for applicants with hepatitis B and HIV to serve as uniformed Public Health Service officers.
The Hepatitis B Foundation became aware of the prohibition of applicants with hepatitis B in late 2020, when an individual with hepatitis B applied to serve but was denied due to his hepatitis B infection and contacted the Foundation. Since then, the Foundation has worked alongside partners advocating for a change in this policy. Hepatitis B Foundation leadership met with senior administration officials to raise awareness and urge them to prioritize this issue. Through legislative advocacy, the Foundation was able to get report language included in the FY 2022 House Labor-HHS Appropriations report urging the USPHS to allow officers with hepatitis B to serve in the Commissioned Corps.
Hepatitis B Foundation issued a press release. Find it here!
Up to 2.4 million people in the United States are living with chronic hepatitis B and most are unaware of their infection. The month of May is designated as Hepatitis Awareness Month, with May 19th marking Hepatitis Testing Day! Organizations across the country dedicate this month to increasing awareness about viral hepatitis as well as promoting vaccination and testing.
We are excited to share resources and opportunities for everyone to get involved in their community this month. Check out our Hepatitis Awareness Month Events Guide to find a local organization and event near you and the CDC’s Hepatitis Awareness Month and Testing Day webpage that highlights the resources available for Hepatitis Awareness Month.
Visit and connect with Hep B United local partners for more opportunities to get involved!
Please join the Hep B United Coalition on December 10, 2019 at 2:00 PM EST for a webinar to discuss access to hepatitis B treatments.
The 2020 Open Enrollment Period is here! As individuals, organizations, and patient navigators search for the best health insurance plans, join this session to learn about discriminatory practices by some health plans that may impact persons living with hepatitis B, including “adverse drug tiering” and the use of “co-pay accumulators.”
Panelists will discuss research findings of hepatitis B treatments offered by health plans, resources for prescription assistance, and provide an overview of and opportunities to get involved in federal and state legislative advocacy efforts to combat discriminatory practices by health insurers.
Michaela Jackson, Public Health and Outreach Program Coordinator, Hepatitis B Foundation
Rachel Klein, Health Policy Manager, The AIDS Institute
The Hepatitis B Foundation is calling for increased resources to improve hepatitis B vaccination rates and educate high-risk communities, in response to newly-released viral hepatitis surveillance data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). CDC released the 2017 surveillance data on September 10, showing an estimated 22,000 new acute hepatitis B cases, an increase over the previous year. Thirty-two states saw increases in reported acute hepatitis B, continuing an upward trend over the past several years, with the highest rates among non-Hispanic White adults age 40-49. These increases are likely driven by the opioid crisis as well as low vaccination rates among adults.
CDC also reported that in 2017, there was a slight increase in overall mortality related to hepatitis B. Alarmingly, mortality rates increased for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI), who shoulder a disproportionate burden of chronic hepatitis B infection. The 2017 death rate for AAPIs was over 5 times higher compared to other groups. Non-Hispanic Blacks also had increased mortality related to hepatitis B, possibly due to high rates of chronic hepatitis B in African immigrant communities.
Currently, only 25% of adults are protected from hepatitis B. Resources are needed to increase adult hepatitis B vaccination in the U.S., to prevent new cases of this serious liver infection.
“The newly released data confirm that while we have made strides in preventing hepatitis B, the trend of increasing acute hepatitis B cases in the U.S. continues. It is critical that we address hepatitis B as a serious consequence of the opioid crisis, by increasing activities and resources to improve vaccination, and ensuring that providers and public health professionals working in high-risk communities include hepatitis B education, testing and vaccination as part of their programming,” said Chari Cohen, DrPH, MPH, Senior Vice President at the Hepatitis B Foundation.
“As we work towards hepatitis B elimination in the U.S., we must not forget the communities impacted the most by chronic hepatitis B infection,” said Kate Moraras, MPH, Senior Program Director, Hepatitis B Foundation. “It is disheartening to see continued disparities and increased deaths due to hepatitis B among AAPIs and African communities. We must improve hepatitis B testing and care for those chronically infected. Only through diagnosis, management and treatment can we save lives.”
Hep B United and the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) are excited to present a 3-part webinar series on local strategies to eliminate hepatitis B. Join us for updates on the current state of hepatitis B (HBV) in the U.S. and to discuss local health department efforts and model programs to increase hepatitis B testing, vaccination, and linkage to care.
Recent data indicate that there has been an increase in the rate of new hepatitis B infections in the U.S., which many largely attribute to increasing injection drug use. To address this, Hep B United and the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) are excited to present a three-part webinar series on local strategies to eliminate hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections.
HBV is a significant and common health burden that chronically infects up to 2.2 million people in the U.S. and approximately 257 million people globally. Up to 25% of chronically infected individuals go on to develop serious conditions such as liver damage, cirrhosis, or liver cancer, and many die as a result of complications from liver disease. Despite the availability of an effective vaccine and treatments, barriers in HBV prevention persist. Join us to discuss the current state of HBV in the U.S. and learn about local health department efforts and model programs to increase HBV testing, vaccination, and linkage to care.
Register now for Part 3!
The Hepatitis B Foundation and the Hep B United coalition are excited to partner with the All of Us Research Program, a program funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to advance precision medicine – health care that is tailored to each person. All of Us will enroll and engage 1 million or more people across the country, from all walks of life, to contribute to research that could improve health for generations to come.
We are partnering with All of Us to increase representation of Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in biomedical research. Diversity and inclusion in health research is critical to understanding how certain diseases or treatments affect individuals differently and helping transform health care to be more customized and effective for each person.
In the U.S., over half of the 2.2 million people living with chronic hepatitis B are Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Join All of Us to help researchers better understand the causes and risk factors for chronic conditions like hepatitis B and make health equity a reality.
Visit JoinAllofUs.org to learn more about the All of Us Research Program.
Fact Sheet: All of Us Research Program
Infographic: All of Us Research Program
Flyer: “How do I sign up for the All of Us Research Program?”